Why you should zero in on the goals that matter

WISDOM: Don't stop making resolutions just because you've failed - try setting ones you can achieve. Picture: Shutterstock
WISDOM: Don't stop making resolutions just because you've failed - try setting ones you can achieve. Picture: Shutterstock

I assume the window for wishing people a happy new year has closed by now. According to some research, so is a column on new year's resolutions.

Last year, an article on Strava, a social network for athletes, reported that January 12 - Quitter's Day, is the fateful day for most resolutions and the date by which most of us have already given up.

So, I thought that there wasn't much point in talking about breaking them before January 12.

However, only last week it was reported that Strava has adjusted its data. Quitter's Day is now January 19 - so perhaps I'm writing on this phenomenon too early.

I stayed up late on New Year's Eve, not to ring in the new year but to make sure that 2020 left.

It was satisfying watching the clock strike midnight. At last, I really could say hindsight is 2020.

I quickly pulled out my phone and started typing new year resolutions.

Perhaps I could have a resolution to break new year's resolutions? At least I could be confident of achievement.

I hate losing, so there goes my "lose weight" resolution.

"Get a beach bod" was such a ridiculous resolution anyway, as I don't live anywhere near a beach.

I live in a rural area, so I tossed up between keeping my "fat cow bod" or going for the "bale of hay bod".

Canadian self-improvement author Brian Tracy states: "Success is goals and all else is commentary."

If Mr Tracy is right, it would appear new year's resolutions are more important than their critics and cynics make out.

I can understand those critics after just living through the year like no other.

With lockdowns, border closures, not being able to travel or indeed even see family and friends, goals like losing weight, quitting smoking, buying a house or changing jobs can seem like pointless things to plan.

Even those of us who make new year resolutions may keep them to ourselves this year for fear of failing and losing face.

Perhaps now, we no longer have high expectations or the self-belief we had this time last year, therefore, give up before having a go because we suspect failure anyway.

Weight loss and fitness resolutions seem to be the most common.

Research shows it's a good idea to go along with a like-minded friend, as you will keep each other on the right track ... I hope.

Why not start? I won't argue with you here. Yes, you'll probably fail. But you will at least lose some weight and, maybe, deepen a friendship.

Another reason we give up on resolutions, especially ones we have had for years, is for that very reason.

Because we've been putting something off for years, we have built up so much fear within ourselves about a reasonably doable thing that we are now too scared to try it - even though we resolve to, year after year.

Don't stop making resolutions. Keep making them. I could say here "stick with them" and you may be able to say honestly "I've tried and I can't".

OK, let's try a trick. If you find that you give up on your new year's resolutions by mid-January, maybe you could try either not making as many - or just not so many all at once.

What if you made just one new year's resolution for January? Just one. Make it the smallest one.

One of my new year resolutions needed to be "stop watching so much sport".

However, I have noticed that the best batsmen and women begin their innings with gentle blocks and singles, and only then build up to the big hits.

This is the case even in Twenty20 cricket. They're getting their eye in.

So, just make one resolution for January. Then, if and when you accomplish that goal, make a new resolution for February. Then move on to a third resolution for March.

You may well find that making your resolutions list shorter - maybe just one per month - will make things more attainable and become the key to your success.

How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee

This story Why you should zero in on the goals that matter first appeared on The Canberra Times.